Does The World Need A Blockbuster Digital Download "ATM?"

At their shareholders meeting Wednesday, Blockbuster announced that they would soon begin testing a “ATM”-style machine that consumers could use to download movies “on the go.”

The Associated Press says:

The design, which [CEO] Keyes said is likely to change with testing, offers a range of features to help customers make movie choices, including previews and recommendations. Keyes said the company is working to reduce the download time for movies to about 30 seconds.

At first the system will only be compatible with the an Archos portable device, but will eventually be an “open system,” able to recognize a wide variety of devices. Blockbuster says that even if they don’t manage to acquire Circuit City, “transforming” their stores with these movie ATMs is their goal.

“With or without Circuit City’s acquisition, we think we have a terrific opportunity to transform our stores,” Keyes said. Blockbusters’ presentation also included mock-ups of small movie download kiosks for other locations such as airports.

Will a digital download kiosk save Blockbuster? Or are you perfectly content with Netflix and their new box?

Blockbuster unveils in-store kiosk prototype [AP]
Blockbuster Annual Meeting Presentation [Blockbuster]


Edit Your Comment

  1. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Does The World Need A Blockbuster Digital Download “ATM?”

  2. Brine says:

    Why would I drive to a Blockbuster to download something?

  3. ilovemom says:

    Do I have to leave my house to use it? No. Thanks, I’ll stick with Netflix. Nice try though.

  4. Download to where? I’m a little confused by this…are they assuming you’ll stand there while you download to a handheld? Or are you supposed to drag your laptop to the store?

    I’ve been using the Netflix streaming service for a couple weeks (no Roku box for me) and have been pretty impressed when hooked up to my SDTV.

  5. crabbyman6 says:

    Personally I think this is kind of a cool idea. Imagine being able to put whatever movie you want on your (insert PMP here) before you hop on a flight or train. However, I’m sure Blockbuster will bungle it by making it too expensive or the DRM too restrictive to be very practical.

  6. Bladefist says:

    DRM? I dont understand. Is this for the IFools out there?

  7. Bladefist says:

    @crabbyman6: with the MPAA, I cant imagine a good selection, or its going to be DRM’d out the ass

  8. Noris says:

    @Ash78: Did you notice the picture where it shows a kiosk in the airport?

    We won’t know if the world needs it until its released and people decide to vote with their dollars. I don’t know how this is a Consumerist piece though. Seems more like a Gizmodo feature.

  9. crabbyman6 says:

    @Bladefist: yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what I was thinking. Although, Blockbuster did buy the rights to digital versions from some of the major movie studios [] so selection might be ok, but I’m sure the DRM will be super restrictive.

  10. qwickone says:

    I think this is a great idea for train stations and airports assuming youre downloading to whatever device you plug in with a hard drive (ipod, laptop, etc). Beyond that, I dont know… Too bad Blockbuster came up with it, they’ll probably ef it up.

  11. @Noris: Did you notice the picture where it shows a kiosk in the airport?

    Yep, and I think the caption should have read “Off-Premise”

  12. consumersaur says:

    It sounds like those terrible digital music kiosks I see at record stores. Digital = download = why leave the house.

  13. Lambasted says:

    Blockbuster is trying damn hard not to become obsolete. But this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. So I have to bring my device into Blockbuster for the privilege of downloading a movie that I could download from home, legal or otherwise (cough, torrent, cough-cough). And with the cost of gas nowadays, what fool would drive to Blockbuster just to download a movie? C’mon fess up.

    Blockbuster should have jumped on the download bandwagon a long time ago. Amazon wised up to the need to offer downloads. Netflix recognized it and capitalized on it. Cable companies have been offering their equivalent to downloads for years, e.g., pay-per-view and on-demand.

    Clearly someone has been asleep at the Blockbuster foresight/visionary wheel. Shareholders ought to be livid that their multi-million dollar execs are pissing their profits away with piss poor (pardon the pun) management. Execs need to spend less time on the golf course with fellow millionaires and more time with keeping track of the what everyday people are up to and maybe Blockbuster wouldn’t be so darn clueless.

  14. quirkyrachel says:

    @Brine: Exactly! That was my question, too.

  15. FAIL.

    The whole point of Netflix is that you don’t have to go to any kiosk. I can maybe see this being useful in airports, but that’s about it.

  16. Eldritch says:

    I wonder how hacker-proof those would be. I can see someone rigging one of them to flood a device with a lot of crap, or get credit card numbers/personal info off them. They’d probably have a shitty, DRM-heavy selection of movies anyway…

  17. Kevino says:

    Ew, drive to the store to download movies? Why in the hell would anyone do that?

  18. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    As soon as I see that blue and yellow logo, it ensures I will not give them my money.

    It takes a long time to earn my trust back after I’ve been abused.

  19. Akamaru says:

    First the Circuit City and Blockbuster merger idea, now this…

    These guys are trying to tank this company. That’s all there is to it.

    It’s not hard to imagine that people prefer to do as little as possible in order to enjoy entertainment (see: television).

    When the Netflix blood was in the water, Blockbuster should have been all over the new content distribution system like a fly on a hot dog.

    Glad I’M not a share holder of this company, yeesh.

  20. highmodulus says:

    Another step towards bankruptcy. I give them 24 months tops.

  21. strangeffect says:

    Hey BB,

    Please do all of us a favor and exist on a level just significant enough to keep Netflix sane. Stop with the exclusive deals though.


  22. mmstk101 says:

    Don’t you see how convenient this is?

    Before when you wanted to throw your money away, you had to choose between actually going to a Blockbuster store or just burning your money/tearing it up. Now you can just toss it into one of their ATMs.


    /couldn’t possibly be any more sarcastic

  23. Parting says:

    HA! HA!

    It’s like telling : ”Let’s do heart resuscitation on this headless corpse, then it’ll walk and come back to life.”

  24. Shaftoe says:

    NETFLIX all the way

  25. LikwidFlux says:

    I have an awesome idea. Ok, so first we’ll offer a kiosk that let’s you download a movie to your laptop. Then we’ll allow you to burn the movie to a disc we will call a “DVD”… oh wait…

  26. Roundonbothends says:

    And for those of us that were having a great time ordering by mail and then trading under Total Exchange, only to have our local store (only one in town) close, I could see this being a little help if they put them in grocery stores. They’d need to get the “burn” time down to about five to eight minutes (I do hit and run grocery shopping), and you’d need to be able to pre-order the movie online.

    Think of it as a mini-store?

  27. ptkdude says:

    They already have these at the Atlanta airport. The company that rents you DVD players for your flights (I can’t remember the name) will let you plug in various PMPs to download movies to watch on the plane.

  28. thewriteguy says:

    This purposed merger of Blockbuster and Circuit City is akin to leashing two boulders together, throwing them into the ocean, and assuming that the lighter of the two rocks will help keep both above water.

  29. erratapage says:

    I download new releases from Amazon unbox on my TIVO device. It makes me happy. I vote no to a vending machine.

  30. Zclyh3 says:

    This idea sort of makes sense when you’re somewhere without high bandwidth capabilities. While it would not make sense for people living at home, this would make perfect sense if you were on a road trip or at the airport. If I was about to plug in let’s say my external hard drive to the kiosks at the airport to get a movie to watch on my Dell XPS m1330, then I think this would make sense. Price is also a factor as well.

  31. ByeBye says:

    Man – this is a GREAT idea.
    Make people get out, use their gas.
    Make people get out and must have a device to put the content to.

    Boy oh boy, Blockbuster’s just got tons of GREAT ideas. I say everyone, let’s head over to Blockbuster RIGHT NOW!*

    *Results not typical. Your experience may vary.

  32. SinisterMatt says:

    Sounds like those RedBox gizmos at Wal-Marts and McDonalds where you can rent a movie for a dollar a day, except this is digital.


  33. Laffy Daffy says:

    We have a Redbox DVD kiosk at our local grocery store and it’s great — $1 per movie paid with credit card, due next day at 9 pm. It went up in January and a lot more people seem to be using it lately. Blockbuster has a store a few doors down but I hear Redbox is kicking its ass. In a few years the stores won’t exist; it will be all kiosk and online download.

  34. mbd says:

    I was finished with Blockbuster when they renamed their late fees “Restocking Fees”, and tried to pawn that off as No Late Fees.

  35. Jesse says:

    Yet another excuse to raise their Total Access pricing to pay for these.

  36. BenjaminCachimbear says:

    Simply… No. Why would i spend gas money to drive to a blockbuster and
    download a movie i can only watch on one device(it’s the same principle as
    not buying umd movies for my psp); when i can lay in my bed and scroll thru
    the menu on my Roku box.(which i got Tuesday btw, and LOVE!) I’m proud to
    say i haven’t been to blockbuster since i started using Netflix about 2
    years ago now. Now I’m not saying Netflix is perfect by any means, i’ve
    gotten in my share of inner-rim to outer-edge cracks; but the good far
    outweighs the bad.. and the Roku box is icing on the cake, and the best part
    is i can take it to Mom’s or Grandma’s over the holidays.

  37. Kajj says:

    @Bladefist: Man, you sure offhandedly insult people for a lot of weird shit. Also, the article very clearly said the kiosk would only work with Archos at first.

  38. Breach says:

    I think they missed the point…I can download stuff AT HOME

  39. WraithSama says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about that BS. That crap pissed me off.

    Companies such as Blockbuster (brick-and-mortar video stores), AOL, NetZero, PeoplePC (ISPs whose business structure prevents them from offering any connection but dial-up, which is increasingly archaic) and the like need to see the writing on the wall. Their business models have been rendered obsolete. It’s almost comical to see them thrashing about in a desperate-but-vain attempt to stay alive.

  40. matto says:

    Maybe someone should introduce these Blockbuster retards to this thing called the “internet”, which obviates the need for “magic download kiosk ATM things”.

    For chrissakes. What kind of cage full of chimps cooks this crap up??

  41. LucyInTheSky says:

    nice try, blockbuster. i have to leave the house to use it?


  42. parrotuya says:

    I can’t wait to see this one fail. Circuit Buster or Block City?

  43. mikemar42 says:

    Anyone that knows how to put movies on an archos player knows how to download them at home. I pray to god this is the last nail in their coffin. Karma people. Ballbuster video killed the mom and pop video clubs, and now netflix killed them. What goes around comes around.

  44. TVGenius says:

    I’m the last one to think that digital distribution of movies is going to replace disc-based delivery anytime soon. But this is just stupid. What’s the point of having to go to their store to do something I can already do in iTunes?

  45. Wubbytoes says:

    This is without a doubt one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard.

  46. Chairman-Meow says:

    @Brine: Spot on.

    Whoever pitched this gem at the board meeting has no kloo how the intertubes really works.

  47. Szin says:

    Downloading Movies after leaving the house? I think that’s how it works in the Bizarro World.

  48. i’d consider paying $2 to download a movie to my ipod at an airport…
    but then decide not to when i start hearing the stories of people’s ipods getting accidentally wiped for using nonstandard firmware or the wrong version.

  49. Keavy_Rain says:

    @Breach: Yeah, its not like we have Xbox Live Marketplace, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Unbox…

    Plus if this is for on-the-go movie viewing wouldn’t any reasonably smart person make sure they have their entertainment needs taken care of before taking a trip?

    I fail to see a market for this but then again I was one of those who swore that “Friends” wouldn’t last.

  50. Overheal says:

    for instant downloads and high definition video, that does beat current net speeeds; but it really only seems marketable to those truly on the go, for instance, travellers.

  51. TheConsumer says:

    This reminds me of that silly kiosk Blockbuster had in 2000 for the
    Nintendo game Pokemon Snap, where you could print your photos from the
    game on little stickers for $3.00

    It was cool at the time, but it only lasted a short while.

    Oh Blockbuster, how will we go on without you? :D